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1) HISTORY - INTRODUCTION. - WHAT IS VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE ??? - INFLUENCE OF VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. - PRINCIPLES OF DOMESTIC VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE 2) CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES. - FACTORS INFLUSING VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE - METHODS IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE - STRUCTUAL ROMANCE WITH BAMBOO, BY INSPIRATION WHY BAMBOO………..??? 3) WHAT IS AUROVILLE ? 4) WHAT IS ORGANIC IN ARCHITECTURE……??? 5) EARTHEN ARCHITECTUR IN AUROVILLE LINKING A WORLD TRADITIONAL WITH MODERNITY. 6) ARCHITECTS IN VERNACULAR
7) PROJECTS IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. - FARM HOUSE, NADHAWADE, SINDHUDURRG,MAHARASHTRA INDIA. - INFLUENCES OF INDIGENOUS, FORMS AND CULTURE ON ARCHITECTS. - PRARTHNA. 8) VANISHING VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE……….??? 9) CONCLUSION.
local needs. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context in which it exists. It has often been dismissed as crude and unrefined, but also has proponents who highlight its importance in current design. It can be contrasted against polite architecture which is characterised by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building's functional requirements. “...a building designed by an amateur without any training in design; the individual will have been guided by a series of conventions built up in his locality, paying little attention to what may be fashionable. The function of the building would be the dominant factor, aesthetic considerations, though present to some small degree, being quite minimal. local materials would be used as a matter of course, other materials being chosen and
1) HISTORY:The term vernacular is derived from the Latin vernaculus, meaning "domestic, native, indigenous"; from verna, meaning "native slave" or "home-born slave". The word probably derives from an older Etruscan word. In linguistics, vernacular refers to language use particular to a time, place or group. In architecture, it refers to that type of architecture which is indigenous to a specific time or place (not imported or copied from elsewhere). It is most often applied to residential buildings The term is not to be confused with so-called "traditional" architecture, though there are links between the two. Traditional architecture can also include buildings which bear elements of polite design; temples and palaces, for example, which normally would not be included under the rubric of "vernacular." In architectural terms, 'the vernacular' can be contrasted with 'the polite', which is characterised by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated by a professional architect for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building's functional requirements. Between the extremes of the wholly vernacular and the completely polite, examples occur which have some vernacular and some polite content, often making the differences between the vernacular and the polite a matter of degr
imported quite exceptionally………..”
The Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World defines vernacular architecture as: “...comprising the dwellings and all other buildings of the people. Related to their environmental contexts and available resources they are customarily owner- or communitybuilt, utilizing traditional technologies. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce them…….”
3) INFLUENCE OF VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE.
Vernacular architecture is influenced by a great range of different aspects of human behaviour and environment, leading to differing building forms for almost every different context; even neighbouring villages may have subtly different approaches to the construction and use of their dwellings, even if they at first appear the same. Despite these variations, every building is subject to the same laws of physics, and hence will demonstrate significant similarities in structural forms. A) Climate. B) Culture. C) Environment and material. 2
2) WHAT IS VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE………???
Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorise methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address
A) CLIMATE:One of the most significant influences on vernacular architecture is the macro climate of the area in which the building is constructed. Buildings in cold climates invariably have high thermal mass or significant amounts of insulation. They are usually sealed in order to prevent heat loss, and openings such as windows tend to be small or non-existent. Buildings in warm climates, by contrast, tend to be constructed of lighter materials and to allow significant crossventilation through openings in the fabric of the building. Buildings for a continental climate must be able to cope with significant variations in temperature, and may even be altered by their occupants according to the seasons. Buildings take different forms depending on precipitation levels in the region - leading to dwellings on stilts in many regions with frequent flooding or rainy monsoon seasons. Flat roofs are rare in areas with high levels of precipitation. Similarly, areas with high winds will lead to specialised buildings able to cope with them, and buildings will be
people interact and many other cultural considerations will affect the layout and size of dwellings. For example, the family units of several East African tribes live in family compounds, surrounded by marked boundaries, in which separate single-roomed dwellings are built to house different members of the family. In polygamous tribes there may be separate dwellings for different wives, and more again for sons who are too old to share space with the women of the family. Social interaction within the family is governed by, and privacy is provided by, the separation between the structures in which family members live. By contrast, in Western Europe, such separation is accomplished inside one dwelling, by dividing the building into separate rooms. Culture also has a great influence on the appearance of vernacular buildings, as occupants often decorate buildings in accordance with local customs and beliefs.
C)ENVIRONMENT AND MATERIAL:The local environment and the construction materials it can provide governs many aspect of vernacular architecture. Areas rich in trees will develop a wooden vernacular, while areas without much wood may use mud or stone. In the Far East it is common to use bamboo, as it is both plentiful and versatile. Vernacular, almost by definition, is sustainable, and will not exhaust the local resources. If it is not sustainable, it is not suitable for its local context, and cannot be vernacular. Toda hut, Indian vernacular architecture
oriented to present minimal area to the direction of prevailing winds.
Climatic influences on vernacular architecture are substantial and can be extremely complex. Mediterranean vernacular, and that of much of the Middle East, often includes a courtyard with a fountain or pond; air cooled by water mist and evaporation is drawn through the building by the natural ventilation set up by the building form. Similarly, Northern African vernacular often has very high thermal mass and small windows to keep the occupants cool, and in many cases also includes chimneys, not for fires but to draw air through the internal spaces. Such specialisations are not designed, but learnt by trial and error over generations of building construction, often existing long before the scientific theories which explain why they work..
B) CULTURE:The way of life of building occupants, and the way they use their shelters, is of great influence on building forms. The size of family units, who shares which spaces, how food is prepared and eaten, how 3
4 . and living habits of a time because they are the direct result of the interaction between people and their environment.along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The houses was built by simply following tradition.we can see in the evolution of house types a simple and frugal society that created habitat with elementary means but insight into the functional requirements and the potential of available materials • Before the 20th century.4) PRINCIPLES OF DOMESTIC VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE • The vernacular dwelling is the unconscious expression of a people’s culture. one of the common plan types and proceeded without any formal documents. • In Lebanon and adjacent areas of the Middle East. More than the architectural of secular or religious institutions. usually with participation from the owner’s whole family. house construction was traditionally the task of a village’s master mason (mu’allim) who selected. in consulation with the clients. houses mirror the needs. desires.
The house was organized around a courtyard with rooms around – typical offshoot from the illams and tharavads of Kerala. with the temple forming the main focus. The sunken portions were classified as the thalvaram and conversely the raised areas in the house were broadly categorized as the melvaram. a)Form and Pattern The form of these agraharams could be understood as a derivative of a grid pattern. The row of houses (tube houses) is either single or 2 storied with the traditional pitched roof striking a significant profile against the sky – the imageability context. sloping roofs being replaced by the flat roofs with a variety of precast concrete motifs forming the parapet. The well was located in the open space near the kitchen or at the rear end (Kerala Iyers Trust) c)Vernacular The pitched roofs. The arai. streams (ozhukku) and the rivers (puzha) facilitated the purpose. the culmination point being the temple as the early settlements were by the priests who were Vedic scholars who attached themselves to the religious activities. columns of the thinnai have been seeing shades of changes with grilles enclosing the thinnai for security reasons. The upper storeys were the machi (on top). Primarily being an agricultural community where the Brahmins were land owners the spatial organisation of the house reflects the occupation and the religious relevance . is the store and the pathayam (granary) or the grain store is a take – off from the Kerala style. The Vedic schools (Vedhapaatashala) have lost its ethnic charm and the settlements are caught in the quagmire of change. The dwajasthambam of the temple stills holds reign to the settlement with the heights of the houses rising only upto the line of control specified by this vertical element. character and style to these agraharams needs to be explored in the current scenario as they are no longer evident. This then led to a large hall (koodam) with an open area (nadumittam) which was a feature similar to the courtyard. They were a clear response to simple needs of protection and survival. The temple tank forms an interactive community space with the Peepal tree (sthalavriksham) forming another focal element. The complete neglect of traditional techniques of construction and materials that once harmonized the entire settlement sees an ensemble pertaining to availability of local materials and modern techniques b)Spatial Organisation d)Identity Elements and spaces that rendered Imageability. Linear in organisation. The porch (thinnai) forms the semi public space – a transition from the public arena (theruvu – street) to the realms of the habitable space – the house.The affluent had the second stage (rendaamkettu) which included a semi covered area for the cattle and the rear yard (kollai) with the toilets. the place of storage of valuable assets. on one side of which would be the grain store (pathayam) below which was the nilavara or the nilavarakundu. The house of the Brahmins perfectly fits the laws of linear organisation with a clear demarcation of spaces as public. The public wells – a key community interactive utility have been totally left have been rendered non-functional. ornamental brackets. semi-public and private areas.From the verandah. there was a long. Orgination of spaces:5 . The rooms (aria) were attached to the hall which was then followed by the kitchen (adukalai) which finally culminated in another open space (mittam) which completed the typology of an onaamkettu (first stage) house. narrow passage leading to the interiors.• The houses were built of the materials furnished by the environments and embededed in hilly landscapes humanized by countless terraces. The concept of bathrooms was unheard of as the village ponds (kulam).
The use of burnt clay bricks is widespread where wood or coal fuel is available. or concrete blocks) • Τimber construction The most widespread vernacular housing construction involves the use of masonry walls as the load-bearing structure. Timber reinforcement can be added to increase ductility and secure the connections.The advantages of timber housing construction stem from the use of timber. Timber reinforcement must be adequately protected against humidity and insects (such as termites in Africa and India) in order to ensure long-term structural integrity. the stones have been shaped. especially among poor populations that do not have access to more sophisticated building materials. generally classified as adobe. a secure roof-to wall connection is essential for satisfactory earthquake performance. If possible. it should be symmetrical in both orthogonal directions. Clay brick is a traditional building material used for centuries in many parts of the world. 3)TIMBER CONSTRUCTION Examples of traditional wooden houses are found throughout Japan and the Russian Federation . usually by hand tools. column– beam or panel-beam) and their ability to transfer the forces from one building member to another and then down to the foundation. The simplest technique is based on the use of sun-baked blocks. Unshaped stone blocks collected in the field have also been used for housing construction for centuries. Adobe construction offers a very limited seismic resistance. clay.” 1)EARTHEN CONSTRUCTION Earthen dwellings utilize mud walls or adobe block walls. the use of timber construction is limited by the local availability of suitable wood materials. Such construction is called “dressed-stone masonry. In some cases. however. the locally available resources have governed the use of the following constituent materials for walls: • Earthen construction. 7 . In many areas. These strategies are as follows: • Good choice of building shape (preferably a circular floor plan). described in the previous section. It should be noted that the wood is quite vulnerable to the effects of humidity and insects. Stone is the locally available material in some regions.2)STONE AND BRICK MASONRY CONSTRUCTION CONSTRUCTIONS TECHNIQUES A) FACTORS INFLUENCING VERNACULAR CONSTRUCTION Locally Available Materials The first factor influencing the development of vernacular construction practices is related to the availability of local building materials. • Use of timber to reinforce earthen walls. A critical issue in timber construction is related to the connections (floor-beam. it is crucial that the floor plan be absolutely regular. stone and Masonry construction • Αdobe (mud blocks or whole walls) • Μasonry (stone. mainly in the form of uncourse (random) stone-rubble construction. Moreover. In order to achieve desirable seismic performance. This type of construction is widespread in many different cultures. • Use of a lightweight roof to reduce the mass on top of the walls. a lightweight and ductile building material. there are a few strategies for improved earthquake resistance of these buildings.
-Advantages of Adobe bricks : Making use of Adobe bricks is probably one of the simplest forms of earth building. is prevented.One of the biggest advantages of the Adobe system is that it allows the individual units or bricks to shrink before they are placed in the wall. B) METHODS IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE Adobe Brick (mud bricks) Rat trap Bond Cavity Wall Filler Slab b) Rat Trap Bon : It is bond. not kiln-fired. Other benefits include low sound transmission levels through walls and a general feeling of solidity and security.Many people find the pattern and texture of Adobe walls very attractive. Adobe bricks can be easily cut for fitting and can be provided with holes for reinforcing and services. the finished walls are smoothed down. non-toxic building material which provide sufficient thermal mass to buildings to ensure excellent thermal performance. The small Adobe units provide great flexibility in the design and construction of earth buildings.cavity between them. a)The Adobe Brick (Mud Brick) Adobe bricks (mud bricks) are made of earth with a fairly high clay content and straw. Nevertheless it is very important to provide adequate weather protection of the earth walls. This is normally done with the provision of adequate eaves. especially in exposed situations. Adobe bricks are a fireproof. Often a clay render is applied as a surface coating. The risk of extensive shrinkage and cracking. When used for construction they are laid up into a wall using an earth mortar.which probably used in vernacular contruction. c) Cavity Wall Cavity wall consists of two walls with a 5cm to 8cm. Before drying out. Adobe bricks are only sun-dried. durable yet biodegradable. which would otherwise occur in soils of high clay content in a large monolithic wall. Adobe bricks have good water resistance. Due to the production process and the nature of clay. If produced manually the earth mix is cast in open moulds onto the ground and then left to dry out. The outer 8 .
. The provision of a continous cavity in the wall efficiency prevents the transmission of dampness to the inner wall Advantages -They are economical -They have good sound insulation property.Kerala. This diversity makes bamboo adaptable to many environments. All natural treatment methods are of course non-polluting and chemical treatment methods can be managed in a non-polluting way by using nontoxic chemicals and re-cycling / re-using the chemicals used for treatment and taking all other necessary precautions. . is a first of its kind structure bamboo in floors.the availability of bamboo resources in India is the second largest in the world ranking only behind China. Being the fastest growing grass in the world (one canliterally SEE and HEAR bamboo grow – the species Phyllostachys Edullis can grow upto 120cm/day!) it is ahigh yielding renewable material resource. walls and roofs in ways that meet our contemporary needs. The soil atSarovaram is of a weak marineclay kind and the site isbordered by backwaters on the western side.consists of a 10 cm( half brick) thick wall and the inner wall is sufficiently thick and strong to carry the imposed load safely. d)Filler slab A) Structural Romance with Bamboo by Inspiration Why Bamboo? 64 % of the bamboo species are native to South east Asia. . Why or how is bamboo ecofriendly? Being a naturally growing material it is nonenergy-intensive in the sense that no energy is used as such in its ‘production’. timber or concrete and has a higher strength by weight ratio than steel and timber which means that for equal weights of bamboo. Bamboo generates a crop every year.It is nonpolluting in its growth (unless of course chemical fertilizers are used) or even after it has been harvested and when it is being used. Some Projects One of earliest usageof bamboo constitutes abamboo reinforced road base. Here are 1500 species of bamboo on the earth. To build 1000 houses of bamboo annually. bamboo 9 Our other non-building but structural uses bamboo include the following: Our own office and an experiment where we have attempted to develop a technology forusing premises in Eroor. has a higher strength than the other two materials. It can be harvested in 3-5 years versus 10-20 years for most softwoods.wall also known as outer leaf. It definitely scores above other types of timber. With a 10-30% annual increase in biomass versus 2 to 5% fortrest.an effort for which we have been honoured with the National award by HUDCO.covering an area of 6000Sqm.the minimum thickness of the inner wall is restricted to 10cm(half brick). With about 125 species. belonging to BTH Group of hotels. A sixty foot bamboo cut for market takes 59 days to replace. 33% grows in Latin America. If an equivalent project used timber. spread across eighteen genera. at Hotel Sarovaram. with some considering a few bamboo species to be even stronger than steel in terms of comparative stiffness factor and tensile strength. A sixty foot tree cut for the market takes 60 years to replace.Ernakulam. The treatment process may or may not be polluting – the choice is in our hands. It scores comparably with mild steel. One clump can produce 200 poles in the three to five years. covering an area of 2750 Sft. bamboo creates greater yields of raw material for use. This high strength and low weight factor of bamboo means that it inherently has a capability to be earthquake and cyclone resistant. Comparisons It is very much light in weight compared tosteel. .. material may be takenfrom a 60 hectare bamboo plantation. and the rest in Africa and Oceania. steel and timber. it would require 500 hectares of forest cover.
the building is a framed structure designed for a loading condition of approx. The structure stands on stilts. which reduces the chances of dampness seeping in as well as the attack on the bamboo by wood by rodents and insects.The other advantages are the thermal insulation provided by the hollow cavity of bamboo and additional carpet area because of reduced wall thickness. ROOF ROOF Details wall interior Wall corner We at Inspiration have the backing of over 15 years of research done in structural application of bamboo by Shri 10 .m live load and to withstand wind speeds of up to 200 km per hour. This has helped in bringing down the cement and steel consumption by almost 70%. The two storied building is built on column footings about 3feet deep. 400kg per sq. the entire dead weight of the building has been reduced to almost 1/3rd of a similar building done with conventional RCC slabs and masonry walls.Basically. All bamboo used has been given preservative treatment. The basic advantage is that because bamboo is a light material.
floors and roofs. Use of Split bamboo and reinforced plaster combination in walling. Use of Re-constituted bamboo-wood composite for soil retaining walls for construction of water retaining structures.inspir Bamboo House Research Project With Kerala Forest Institute. Tamil Nadu An exquisite reteat with an wholesome treatment facility along with deluxe and executive cottages. Mumbai • • • • • • • • • Preservative treatment of bamboo with non-toxic pressure treatment Preservative treatment of bamboo using coal tar Creosote oil. Chennai. Web: ww w.N. inspiration@eth. Datye and Shri V. Gore of Geo-Scienc Services.R.net 11 . Cold dip with LOSP (Liquid Organic Solvent Preservative)treatment. Use of Split bamboo and reinforced plaster combination in floor slab and roof slab. Use of combination of Geo-fabrics and preservative split bamboo mesh for reinforcement in clayey soil as road base. numbering 30. Use of full bamboo screen and reconstituted bamboo-wood composite for soil retaining structure.K. with the highlight being making use of the available bamboo on site for the entire construction – walls. Use of bamboo crating for packing dry rubble as retaining Cholayil MEDIMIX Ayurvedic Retreat.
The city is divided into four directional zones: cultural. 2. and an inaugural urn that contains earth from 124 countries as a symbol of international harmony.Prefabricated bamboo house at Kallara. a spiritual collaborator of the philosopher and yogi Sri Aurobindo. and surrounding everything 12 Bamboo office for socio Economic Unit Foundation . a galaxy shape that spirals out over 5 square kilo-metres (2 square miles). industrial. This truth is most strikingly reflected in the organic architecture of its town plan. It was conceived and founded in the late 1960s by the French visionary known as ‘The Mother’. one where all might live together in peace and harmony. Auroville intends to realise this dream of human unity. an amphitheatre for ceremony and ritual. It is a place for the spiritual evolution of humanity: an awaken-ing of the divine consciousness that lives in us all. Together they envisioned a great future for humanity. and spiritual evolution is their driving force. international and residential. WHAT IS AUROVILLE? The name Auroville means ‘City of Dawn’ and refers to the dawning of a new consciousness. breathing life into all their activities. ins Bamboo for partition walls FROM DUST TO DAWN Raven Le Fay describes how an eroded landscape was turned into a beautiful eco-city and improved the local climate in the process.Kerala. The Matrimandir (‘Temple of the Mother’) sits in the centre alongside an ancient banyan tree.000 people from 35 countries currently live in Auroville.
birds 13 . organic farming. machinery. using a high compression ratio of 1. The Auroville Earth Institute and Centre for Sustainable Research (CSR) have developed a successful manual press to create Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) that are used like bricks. The presses are robust. and finances were limited. There was no electricity. Fences have made from thorn and cactus to protect the vegetation from grazing. water or shade. which facilitates more plant growth. wastewater treatment and renewable energy systems. and runs a revitalization pro-gramme for medicinal plant traditions. As the vegetation has grown the microclimate has changed. they aimed for solutions suitable to the climate that would incorporate passive solar features. Today. and simple to implement and maintain. Learning the hard way to work with nature. It has become cooler and more humid. reforestation. and through trial and error succeeded in their goals. SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION When the Auroville pioneers arrived. protect from rain. firewood and building materials. food. Now these trees are harvested. be inexpensive. and an abundant but unskilled labour force on the other. reduce energy consumption and utilise rainwater har-vesting. millions of trees have been planted behind bunds.is the ‘green belt’. Solutions had to use local people and materials. and sustainable research. and as a sacred sanctuary. and produce up to 1. They were both constrained and motivated by such factors as no electricity. but the Australian ‘work tree’ (Acacia auriculiformis or Darwin Black Wattle) became invasive and crowded out other species. they placed features near the top of the watershed following the topography. As they became more skilled and efficient in their work.000 accurate blocks per day of adjustable height and shape (including hollow blocks that save on material and give insulation). in an attempt to recharge the aquifers. erosion control. The basic building material was an obvious choice. Extensive networks of raised earth bank and ditches called ‘bunds’ were placed along the contours of the land. the Auroville forest is acknowledged and safeguarded as an invaluable resource for the community: for medicine. since earth was abundant on site. Both have seed banks to protect forest biodiversity. APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY Having established vegetation and water control. next to dams and ponds.83 with 13. they slowly developed an integrated soil and water conservation strategy that restored the fertility of the land. Keen to integrate appropriate technology into their designs.000 specimens from the native forest. REFORESTATION Since the 1970s. Auro-villians started building their infrastructure. and efforts are focused on recreating the native vegetation of a tropical dry evergreen forest. and brings in many species of animals. Pitchandikulum Bio-Resource Centre also has a 20 hec-tare (50 acre) forest where it has collected over 440 indigenous plant species. Initially both native and non-native species were planted. and insects. regeneration of the environment was their first concern. Through careful observation and listening to local traditional knowledge. along with a series of earth check dams and catchment ponds. prevent saltwater intrusion and conserve water for irrigation. This in turn further enriches the environment through seed dissemina-tion and fertilization. an area dedicated to the promotion of biodiversity. Work units ‘Palmyra’ and ‘Water Harvest’ are currently targeting the rehabilitation of an ancient network of community catchment tanks that once covered the land. transportation. as a microclimate moderator. Auroville’s botanical gardens have a 20 hectare (50 acre) plot that is being developed into a research and demonstration site with over 5. Aurovillians turned their efforts towards the bioregion. or conventional building materials on the one hand.5 metric tons (15 tons) available force.
and also using baffled tank reactors. • 14 . While not a truly sustainable solution. The blocks are adaptable and can be used without support or form. inexpensive combinations of septic tank and soak pit.Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959). durable. but lime or bitumen can also be used. This technique is known as free-spanning or Nubian. the blocks are stabilised with 3-5% cement to prevent water erosion. where a thin cement mortar is laid over steel wire meshing that acts as reinforcement. CEBs are energy efficient (using bet-ween 5 and 15 times less energy to make than a fired brick). ecology. alternative architecture. Auroville has had great success in the use of ferrocement. The term “organic architecture” wascoined by the famous architect. Recently Auroville has been researching Effective Microorganism (EM) technology to improve system performance. Along with earth construction..WASTE WATER TREATMENT In Auroville. and is made possible through the blocks’ adhesive properties with the clay mortar. • Presently organic architecture forms the foundation and mother of all architecture sustainable architecture. and the technology is easily transferable. ecological. European funds enabled the CSR to research and develop planted filters.??? Integrating humanhabitat with thenatural world. Later. cheap. it has proven to be a very cost-effective and highly efficient building material that is adaptable. WHAT IS ORGANIC IN ARCHITECTURE…. biogas plants and at least one Living Machine. The first wastewater recycling solutions that Auroville developed were simple. bio architecture and so on. also called constructed wetlands or root zone treatment systems. Currently Auroville has over 40 water treatment systems of small to moderate size many using horizontal or vertical planted filter beds. Many buildings in Auroville demon-strate this through vaulted floor and roof designs.
based on natural forms and structures and simple local materials. • Organic Architecture is influenced by Biophilia (love of life – nature or living system). In modern & post modern period. culture or period. • It has more of a vernacular approach. AntoniGaudi. site and time (three variables). radical. transcending the mere act of providing shelter from surroundings which shapes and enhances our lives. • • OBJECTIVES • It is not a style. It is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world throughdesign approaches. Architecture has an inherent relationship with both its site and its time. It gives respect to natural materials blending into the surroundings and honest expression of the function of the building with relation of each piece to the whole and the whole to the surroundings. Wright. It also explores our need to connect to nature. non cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past. beauty. many eminent WHAT IS ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE? • • • ECOLOGICAL + INDIVIDUAL’S= ORGANIC Organic architecture is the outcome of the feelings of life. idiosyncratic and environmentally known. affinity for place and holds the promise of achieving a compatible and sustainable relationship between people. Rudolf Steiner. based on natural form sand structures and simple local materials. . • Organic Architecture is not a style of imitation but composition consisting of buildings and its surroundings. Temperature flows also behave better in curvilinear interiors. Vernacular is a characteristic style common to a particular region. but unique and unrepeatable because it is related to the man. It is well integratedwith its site and has a unified. Architects could create swooping arches without visible beams or pillars. wind and water. because he believed that every building should grow naturally from its environment and it should exalt the simple laws of common sense. Bruce Goff. multifaceted. • Patterns and forms in nature such as the spiral and fractal are products of internal laws of growth and of the action of external forces such assun. or of super sense if we prefer determining form by way of the nature of materials. There should be marriage in between the site and the structure and a union in between the context and the structure. FLW was not concerned with architectural style. which is never be the result of an imposed style.Organic Architecture describes an expression of individuality. • • • • • • Vernacular Architecture consists of buildings or landscapes that affirm a distinctive material. nature and the human built environment.from the interior life (that flows in space)to outdoor. harmony.L. • It is a total harmonized blending of outdoor and indoor space.fraternity.It is visually poetic. connected to a particular moment and site. Organic shapes and forms that elicit a human affinity for nature. flexible and surprising. A building is a product of its place and itstime intimately. Louis Sullivan. • It also embodies the human spirit. present or future. • Primitive vernacular architecture was innately organic. 15 • Primitive vernacular architecture was innately organic. It promotes a more positive link between man and nature. interrelated rather a reinterpretation of nature’s principles to build forms more natural than nature itself. like integrity. joy and love. Patterns and forms in nature such as the spiral and fractal are products of internal laws of growth and of the action of external forces such as sun.• Organic architecture develops itself from inside to outside. Bruno Zevi and most recently Anton Alberts and Laurie Baker are all famous for their work related to Organic Architecture. F. wind and water. freedom. EXPLORING ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE • • Organic Architecture does describe environmental concerns. Architects Gustav Stickley.
Nari Gandhi views. • The design of brick jail promotes natural air movement to cool the homes interior and create intricate patterns of light and shadow. Gobhai Mountain Lodge. Spanish architect designed sculpturally the creative and irregular organic form. Zambian vernacular architecture isorganic. 16 . beautiful and most importantly comfortably integrated with the local climate. • The buildings are aesthetically beautiful. • other eminent Indian Architect.• • Modern organic designs are never linear or rigidly geometric. which the verandahs overlook. • In his design of Gobhai Mountain lodge. because most of the natural aspects are curvilinear and asymmetrical in shape. culture and harvest cycles • In India the famous architect Laurie Baker designed the buildings with local materials. the • Rajmachi hilltop fort and the Valvan lake below. Instead wavy lines and curved shapes suggest natural forms. Mainstream architecture is also adopting outward organic forms. keeping the essence of organic architecture which is more comfortable to the inhabitants with natural surroundings. Nari Gandhi uses ‘art of craft’ in order to achieve an organic and sensorial architecture with an ethos towards the spiritual. Antonio Gaudi. he explores a jewel like exercise in geometry and simplicity. low-cost and high quality.
fly ash blocks. like Sydney Opera House. built around 1300 BC: the vaults of the Ramasseum. many are the examples of earth as a building material. • TZED homes in Bangalore by BCIL are a residential project consisting of environmentally sustainable and aesthetically sound homes for ninety-five families. totally adapted to the local context – social. 17 . economical. in the natural form of lotus. which is again the modernist approach of organic architecture. like stone and mud. The R&D conducted by the Auroville Earth Institute finds its source of inspiration in the traditional earthen architecture which is found worldwide. Its plan. climatic. form and character are determined by the nature of the site. in the “rest” of Thebes. India also shows very old earthen buildings: Shey palace in Ladakh. Natural building materials. technical. and ecological. From the roof of the world in Tibet. near Luxor.Nari Gandhi. • We propose that all architecture should be organic. • The roof of the east face is pressed down to redirect the airflow of the prevailing southwest winds.built with adobe blocks in 996 AD and which has withstood 1010 Himalayan winters. TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE: A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION • • Since ages raw earth has been used all over the world as a building material to achieve amazingly long lasting buildings.The oldest one can be seen in Egypt. the nature of the system using them. • A building should grow from its site as nature grows from the inside out and shaped by the forces which surround it. • Fariborz Sahba designed the Bahai temple in Delhi. Fresh air input and builtin energy efficient lights are among the features. the nature of the materials used. Every aspect of TZED has been designed to conserve the natural resources and to have minimal impact on the environment. or the Andes Mountains in Peru. • Earth architecture and the skill of earth builders disappeared since a century: from the end of the 19th century till the latter half of the 20th century. individual. • It is an integrated approach with several innovative systems to minimize environmental impact. There is hardly any continent or country which does not have numerous examples of earth construction. the nature of the life concerned and the purpose of the building itself. But vernacular architecture worldwide shows also how a local material has been used to create an endogenous architecture. • These “world heritage sites” show how earthen architecture has been use for achieving great and long lasting monuments. built in the 17th century and Tabo monastery in Spiti Valley – Himachal Pradesh. laterite blocks are used. Tradition has accumulated over the ages wisdom and knowledge and it is our duty to distillate the essence of this genius and use it for today’s development. etc. • The development of earth architecture in Auroville attempts to link the ancestral tradition of raw earth buildings and the modern technology of stabilised earth.EARTHEN ARCHITECTURE IN AUROVILLE LINKING A WORLD TRADITION WITH MODERNITY • • Gobhai mountain lodge. to the Nile’s shore in Egypt or the fertile valleys of China. • The solution of every problem is contained within itself.
as this technology benefits of half a century of research and development worldwide. which promotes indigenous and sustainable development. basement floors. Since then. as well as its comfort and quality.Shallow ones for landscape design. People were sensitive to Nature and respected it. apartments and individual houses. etc. . pools 18 . • If well managed. and the construction of the Visitors’ Centre. the value of earth as a building material has been acknowledged for its economic advantage. started a new era in earthen architecture.Deep ones for rainwater harvesting. MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES • People in so many different cultures worldwide have used earth to build their habitat and they managed the resources in such a way that buildings were totally integrated in nature and they did not degrade the environment. earthen buildings can be totally integrated in the natural environment.Most of the projects are built with compressed stabilised earth blocks (CSEB). wastewater treatment. • The“modern world” does not have such sensitivity… The Auroville Earth Institute (AVEI) lays a lot of emphasis on the management of resources.treatment BUILDING WITH EARTH IN AUROVILLE • The creation of the Auroville Earth Institute in 1989. But on the opposite side. work or play areas.• The Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy was the precursor for the renaissance of earthen architecture in the middle of the 20th century. mismanagement of resources can lead to the degradation of the environment. as showed in the tradition. Auroville shows quite a few examples of integrated management of soil resources: . gardens. schools. Auroville can show a wide variety of projects: public buildings. • Stabilised rammed earth is slowly getting known and a few projects already implemented this technique. • Today.
seminars. which had been founded by HUDCO in 1989. developing. • These technologies are disseminated through training courses. in a way or another to the building process. Since then architects are designing houses and often people participate. Over the past decade. the endeavour to promote and disseminate raw earth as a building material for sustainable and cost-effective development has brought a series of 12 awards: eleven national awards and one international award. workshops. promoting and teaching earth-based technologies that are cost and energy effective. • • • One of the aims of the Auroville Earth Institute is to give people the possibility to create and build their habitat themselves. • The Auroville Earth Institute is researching. THE AUROVILLE EARTH INSTITUTE • The Auroville Earth Institute was previously named the Auroville Building Centre/Earth Unit. 19 . using earth techniques. The Auroville Earth Institute is today the South Asian representative and Resource Centre for the UNESCO Chair "Earthen Architecture – Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development". publications and consultancy within and outside India.HOUSES Up to ~ 1990 they were not so many architects and most of the time houses were built by people themselves.
5 cm thick. • CSEB made in Auroville with 5% cement. for producing about 70 different types of blocks. # NUBIAN TECHNIQUE This technique came from Nubia. of earthen architecture and construction with arches. as is shown here after. This technique has the advantage of 20 . Craterre . so as to increase the adhesion by force of gravity. We owe him thanks for the worldwide renaissance. about 1-1. The vault was built arch after arch and therefore the courses were laid almost vertically. from Southern Egypt. The water absorption is around 10%. the sun dried bricks. and the Auroville Earth Institute inherited his spirit and commitment towards the earth as a building material and what the latter can do for people. The Nubian technique traditionally needs a back wall to stick the blocks onto. which was built by.APPROPRIATE BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES BASED ON EARTH • This research aims at making extensive use of • stabilised raw earth as the main building material. hand tools. comfortable. using a compass. as it is testified by the vaults of the granaries of the Ramasseum.handling equipment.the International Centre for Earth Construction. ARCHITECTS IN VERNACULAR # Hassan Fathy Hassan Fathy is one of the few names of 20th century architects in the Middle East that is also known in the West. Egypt. Not only has his interest been in providing affordable housing for the poor but also in reinstalling pride in the vernacular andtraditional architecture of the Arab world and mainly his home country of Egypt. has been researched and developed from the very onset by the Auroville Earth Institute. Arabic peninsula and China. quality control devices for block making. was the silty-clayey soil from the Nile and the blocks used were adobes. have an average dry compressive crushing strength of 50 kg/cm2 (5 Mpa) and a wet compressive crushing strength of 25 kg/cm2. for the rehabilitation of the zones affected by the severe earthquake of January 2001. USA. progressive and aesthetic architecture. vaults and domes. hence the name Nubian.Ramses II around 1300 BC. • The press 3000 with hollow interlocking moulds was sold in large quantities to Gujarat-India. with various shapes and thicknesses.His life-long career has been mainly devoted to an architecture that serves a greater good. there by using a local resource to help develop technologies that are energy saving. The binder. • The press 3000 is today being sold worldwide – mostly in South Asia and in Africa.eco-friendly and sustainable. • It ranges from a press for compressed stabilised earth blocks. Country fired bricks have around 35 kg/cm² for the dry compressive strength and 12% water absorption COMPRESSED STABILISED EARTH BLOCK (CSEB) • A wide range of equipment for building with earth. to rammed earth equipment. in the 20th century. Note that these technologies are seen only as tools for creating a safe. The Nubian technique was revived and disseminated by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. • The Auram press 3000 is a multi mould manual press which can fit 16 moulds on it. It has been used since ages. The Nubian technique was also used for building circular domes. the Auram equipment. scaffolding. The main research and development is focussed on minimizing the use of steel. The unevenness of the adobes made it necessary to slightly incline the courses. cement and reinforced cement concrete. A few machines have also been sold in Europe.
courses of the 3. The 6m span semicircular vault cannot be built horizontally anymore. which will induce a lot of cracks in the structure later on. The construction has to go on with vertical courses. less soil and more sand. the following mix can successfully be used for vaults and domes: 1 cement: 6 soil: 3 sand. the specification for vaults and domes could be 1 cement: 7 soil: 2 sand or. • If the mortar for walls (1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand) gives satisfactory results. if needed. groined domes) cannot be built with horizontal courses. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 7 soil: 5 sand. no sand should be added and the mix could be 1 cement: 9 soil. as the blocks are bigger. It is needed also to develop a certain sense of how the forces behave in the masonry. this glue should not be too clayey. This technique combines also the use of vertical courses. The Free Spanning technique with horizontal courses presents an advantage compared to the Nubian technique: the glue is sandier and the quantity of glue is proportionally less. structures are built either with horizontal courses. meaning that the soil is too sandy.60 m span equilateral vault have reached their maximum height. Note that soil and sand should be sieved with 1 mm mesh. This technique with vertical courses has a major disadvantage. # FREE SPANNING TECHNIQUE The free spanning technique is an on going development of the Nubian technique that the Auroville earth Institute is working on since a few years. Therefore. and their transfer onto the next courses and the masonry in general. Limit of stability of the horizontal courses Load transfer in the shape of a catenary in an equilateral vault with a half dome Force as a rampant arch Equilibrium of forces Force as a rampant arch Limit of stability of the curved corbel The vault. Very flat segmental vaults and certains shapes of vaulted structures (i.e.allowing one to build vaults and domes without centering. . if needed. Nevertheless.The horizontal 21 # Vaults and domes built with the Nubian technique The binder for vaults and domes is like glue and should be more clayey than the one for walls in order to stick the blocks properly against each other. which is that the earth glue is very liquid and the blocks are very thin. the vault tends to crack less because there is less shrinkage due to the glue. as it should not have an excessive shrinkage. The basis of the technique with horizontal courses is not anymore the adhesion of the blocks by the earth glue. and assumes the most direct way. but the equilibrium of gravity forces of the various courses. being built with horizontal courses. Depending on the shape of vaults. Courses should now be laid by steps The masonry goes on with horizontal steps. The transfer of loads always takes the shape of catenary curves. Equilateral vault with horizontal courses. as the load transfer passes into the half dome which is at the end. the specification for vaults and domes could be 1 cement: 5 soil: 4 sand or. The vault rises with horizontal courses building a semicircular vault of 6m span It is essential to study the location of the centres of gravity so that the weight of the masonry never goes beyond the springers. rises like a corbel which is curved and has courses inclined at the same angle as the radius of the curve. Forces through the keystone The forces pass through the keystone of the equilateral vault. like in the Nubian technique. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 3 soil: 9 sand. more soil and less sand. meaning that the soil is too clayey. vertical ones or a combination of both. • If the soil is too sandy. as no force can balance the gravity forces. It allows courses to be laid horizontally.
Higher courses of the vault The fluidity of the glue is essential when laying the blocks. It should have the same fluidity as for the vaults built with the Nubian Technique. A sample of the glue taken with the trowel should leave a film of 3-4 mm thick on a trowel placed vertically . A sample of the glue taken with the trowel should leave a film of 7-8 mm thick on a trowel placed vertically. which has changing proportions when the dome rises. As the courses are circular. It is crucial that the intrados corners of the block touch each other. if needed. can use this glue: 1 cement: 3 soil: 9 sand or less soil and more sand. if needed.3-4 mm left on the trowel #Circular domes (Hemispherical.Fluidity: The glue needs to be very liquid. the various mixes which have been specified here are merely indicative and need to be adapted to suit each individual soil. • When the courses get steeper and that the blocks start to slip down. • When the courses rise. the mix for the earth concrete can successfully be 1 cement: 2 soil: 3 sand: 4 gravel (1/2” size) Note for all specifications concerning binders: Types of soil are as different as human beings. which is binding the various courses of the vault. which is built with horizontal courses. which uses horizontal courses. Therefore. Filling steps between courses. which is built with horizontal courses. meaning that the soil is too sandy. the first courses of the vaults. The extrados of an optimized vault. the glue can be modified as such: 1 cement: 5 soil: 7 sand. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 7 soil: 5 sand. can use this glue: 1 cement: 9 soil: 3 sand or more soil and less sand. the side of the joint facing the intrados has a triangular shape. if needed. the glue should become more clayey. cloister and groined domes . the cement/soil ratio could be increased to 1cement: 8 soil or 1cement: 7 soil. which is built with horizontal. The mortar specifications vary as the vault rises: • The first courses. Therefore. is specially developed for building vaults without support. can use this glue: 1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand. 7-8 mm left on the trowel • If the mortar for walls (1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand) gives satisfactory results. • If the first courses uses a mix of 1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand. .Fluidity: The glue needs semi liquid like paste. which are quite flat. The glue will have at the end the same specification as the one for vaults with the Nubian technique: 1 cement: 6 soil: 3 sand or more soil and less sand. The binder is like glue. the soil/sand ratio should be increased progressively. The glue should have more soil. the first courses of the vaults. in order to reduce the shrinkage when drying. their angle becomes steeper from the horizontal.The best would be 1 mm thick and the maximum should be 2 mm thick. The fluidity of the glue is essential for the adhesion. Add progressively some soil to the glue and reduce of the same proportion the sand content.Thickness: The corners of the blocks are touching each other at the intrados edge. should be the minimum thickness. built with horizontal courses. The fluidity and thickness of the glue varies according to the work: #Vaults. has steps which should be filled with an earth concrete. need a glue sandier than the one for walls. • When the courses rise further and have a steeper angle. • If the mortar for walls (1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand) gives satisfactory results.Thickness: The vertical joint. #Vaults built with the free spanning technique The Free Spanning technique. the first courses of the vaults. Note that soil and sand should be sieved with a 1 mm mesh.• If the soil is really too sandy and the mix 1 cement: 9 soil does not give good results. or more soil and less sand if needed. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 5 soil: 7 sand. pointed and segmental) . First courses of the vault #BUILDING ARCHES 22 . the blocks tend to slip down and fall. or even more. meaning that the soil is too clayey. in order to increase the ratio soil/sand.
before the masonry starts to tilt. ~ 5 m span Steel centring. Roundness of segmental arches 2)Corbelled arches built without centring Corbelled arches were developed because they can be built without support. as it needs a support for the voussoirs. No mortar is in between the blocks inside. Wood and steel centrings are useful when the same arch has to be built several times. the blocks are laid on the side of the centring in a similar way to thatdescribed above. The centring should go down slowly and vertically. At the other end it is nearly impossible to lay the last course between the vault and the opposite wall. -Types of centrings Wooden centring. This technique was developed to start building the vault on both opposite walls at the same time. Most of the time. For arches which are not too flat. 90 cm span Masonry centring. One should evaluate. Apply 2-3 mm of glue on the block 5. steel or masonry. The following method was developed to build an arch without centring.The last blocks laid on top of the centring are laid according to the details mentioned hereafter for veryflat segmental arches. Removing wedges and decentring 1)Segmental arches Depending on the flatness of the arch the procedure will be different. The main exception is corbelled arches. Check the right angle 3. Wooden and steel centrings can have supports made of wood poles or steel pipes only if the arch has to be built many times. Build the arch symmetrically 4. Hit gently to get the keystone to wedge it 12. The bond pattern is essential and the blocks should cantilever preferably by 1/4 of the block module with the maximum projection 1/3. Start the vault on both sides 2. the supports are made with brickwork which is laid with a mortar made of earth and sand. Centrings can be made of wood. Grind the keystone to adjust its thickness 9. so as to get the last blocks parallel near the apex. Adjust the block by sliding it vertically 7. Wedge the block with stone chips 8. The Nubian technique needs a back wall to start sticking the vertical courses onto and the vault is built arch after arch. They may have any shape and span. Triangular joint of the mortar 5. It presents the advantage of going faster. As both halves of the vault get closer to each other. Insert the block. For building such an arch. but the blocks need a support for being laid. ~ 80 cm span -Common procedure for all arches It is essential that the blocks touch each other at the intrados. Wedge the keystone with stone chips 23 . as more masons can work on the same structure. which is the inner side of the pier. which has to be closed. there will finally be a gap between both.Centre of gravity of a corbelled arch Arches built with the free spanning technique A “curved arch” is normally never built free spanning. It is essential that the arch rises with the blocks perpendicular to the centring. 1. 1. it is essential to pay attention to the balance of the masonry when courses rise. The method presented hereafter allows bridging without support for this gap between both halves of the vault. Pressing the mortar joint 6. by corbelling regularly the horizontal courses of the wall masonry. Pour water on the keystone 10. Note the mortar on the sides 6. as their cost is mostly the labour which made it. Extreme care must be taken over the decentring. Slide the block laterally 2. Grind a block to adjust its length 4.Arches usually need a centring to be built. where the centre of gravity is of the arch being built. Insert the keystone after applying glue 11. Check the linearity of the last course 3. Masonry centrings are often used to save the cost of a prefabricated centring.It should not go beyond the limit of stability. so as to close a vault which was built with the Nubian technique and started at both ends of a room. and outside the joint thickness will depend on the curvature of the arch.
with a block laid lower or slipping down. Note that it is better to lay the net of string lines outside in the masonry. It starts with the same specification as for arches and progressively become more clayey. Compass Triangular shape of the mortar (section) Triangular shape of the joint (inside) 2)Square domes 24 . It is essential to check the balance of the portion of the vault which progressively corbels. It is essential to compress the vertical joint very well and to keep it to the minimum. It can advantageously be the future window frame on which are temporarily fixed some spacers to get the extrados shape of the vault. Therefore. The lengthof the compass is taken at the outer diameter of the dome.Compress the joint BUILDING DOMES 1)Circular domes Circular domes are defined by the rotation of a compass. In certain cases.BUILDING VAULTS 1)Building a vault with the Nubian technique The back wall should be built first. so that the direction of the block can be adjusted by the angle of the compass. like in the Nubian technique. What is presented here is only the particular details for laying the courses horizontally. It is then indispensable to work with a very high accuracy and to leave always 1 mm gap between the blocks and the string line.Back wall Window frame as a template 2)Building a vault with the free spanning technique Vertical ones. It can have exactly the shape of the extrados of the vault or it can be quadrangular and the extrados of the vault will be drawn onto it. to see if they are according to the calculations. to ensure the height of the various courses their cord and span must be checked. which can be re-used afterwards for reinforced cement concrete. so as to reduce the shrinkage of the glue and cracks in the vault later on. It is necessary to create a net of string lines between the back wall and the template. A template is needed to ensure the shape of the vault.The binder varies when the vault rises. will not change the linearity of the string line. The reason is that any mistake in accuracy. The template can also be made of welded Tor steel. The control of the shape is ensured from the inner diameter and thus a cursor or any kind of mark made on the compass is needed. it is sometimes necessary to lay the string lines below the masonry.
terracotta tile & coconut. when the squinches meet at the centre Cross alternately the blocks for the keystones Right side cover Cross alternately the blocks for the keystones left side cover Baker learnt the actual way of practicing architecture by observing how the rural people were building their houses. he came to understand the real relation between materials and the beings. primarily mud eventually. he began to feel that his education and the skills acquired. Jalies 3. Baker. The procedure described as follows is for cloister domes which are built with squinches. Consequently.a perforted screen made of Bricks with a surface of tiny regular opening in the wall. He also observed that these people did not even employ expert workers.Square domes are generated by the intersection of two vaults. from diagonal to diagonal of the template. producing intricate patterns of light and shadow. Pipe template and string lines Hearing bones of the joints. the most sustainable and renewable resource. BAKER’S STYLE 1.yet the construction of this form of cross-Ventilation requires. Skylight 2. A template is required and it is generally made of a pipe which is bent according to the need. Mud is gathered either at the construction site or rom nearby areas. String lines are pulled at regular intervals. used locally available building materials like mud. He understood that these methods were the cheapest and the most simple. A Charateristic feature of Baker’s work is the jali. A jali openings encourages air flow. but built them on their own. stone. Baker was aware of those using concrete. which create the groined or cloister domes. Baker was aware of mud’s total recycle-ability. These. Traditional structure 25 LAURIE BAKER IN VERNACULAR . brick. Traditional roofs 4.He began to build houses by making use of whatever was available in nature. Baker became the champion of Using mud. by which bricks are made. instead of using steel and cement. It catches light & air and diffuses glare while allowing privacy & security combining the function of a window & a ventilator. BAKER’S CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES LAURIE BAKER (1914 to 2007) Laurie Baker is truly the Hassan Fathy of India people say that Baker has developed his architecture based on Vernacular architecture of Kerela.
There are other local systems where some mud is used in one way or another to assist other materials to stick together.5. there is no doubt at all that the life . Openings for doors. one above the other. or Laterite. Overhanging CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUIES The first simplest and certainly the oldest system is called “COB” With only a little water to form a very stiff mud. When one section is completed and hard. Rammed earth or adobe walls. There are other local systems where some mud is used in one way or another to assist other materials to stick together. The vertical joints between one rammed section and next are not vertically one above the other. in many parts of the country small roughstones are found but it is quite difficult to build a wall of any size or height with suchpieces. or by small cross pieces of wood. For example. For example. Basically. Otherwise. It is also an attempt to increase the strength of the wall by ramming it. these vertical joints can later turn into a large vertical crack! However. So the stones are often used as fillers to either Cob. or even construct it from a material like Burnt Brick. which can be solved by using temporary vertical planks or shuttering.In many hill and mountain areas the stone is deliberately and carefully added at the external base of the wall and this deal with the splashing of rainwater quite effectively. this cob method is a very simpler straight forwards uncomplicated. Rammed earth or adobe walls. two parallel planks are held firmly apart by metal rods and clips or bolts.The second method has developed from the cob wall so as to standar dise or regularise the thickness of the wall. Once you have obtained the feel of the right consistency of mud. SITTING A MUD HOUSE CURING MUD BLOCKS It can also be said here that for many single and double storey buildings mud can be used as a mortar for ordinary burnt brick walls and for stone random rubble walls If your site is a very exposed one with a frequent strong driving rain then of course it is better to protect that side of your building with plaster. So the stones are often used as fillers to either Cob. Stiff mud is thrown in between these two planks and rammed down with either a wooden or metal ramrod. of rammed earth walls is usually very long and they can carry heavy floors and roofs and be used for two and even three storey buildings.All forms of mud work are less prone to cracking if dried slowly. the sides are smoothe over so that the holes and cracks disappear. As we have already pointed out there is no virtue in being fanatical about mud and trying to do every single item with mud. Stteped arches 6. It is known as the Rammed Earth. there is no doubt at all that the life of rammed earth walls is usually very long and they can carry heavy floors and roofs and be used for two and even three storey buildings. and windows are a problem. Otherwise. or with a veranda. A row of these cobs of mud are laid neatly side-by-side preferably somewhat pressed together when three or four courses have been laid. in the shade and not in 26 The vertical joints between one rammed section and next are not vertically one above the other. in many parts of the country small roughstones are found but it is quite difficult to build a wall of any size or height with suchpieces. the two boards are moved along and the process is repeated until the whole plan is completed.In many hill and mountain areas the stone is deliberately and carefully added at the external base of the wall and this deal with the splashing of rainwater quite effectively. Stone. these vertical joints can later turn into a large vertical crack! However.
East and West. His ideas have spread across the island.strong sun. formal and picturesque. from Arab traders and from European colonists. building and landscape. His ideas have spread across the island. providing a bridge between the past and the future. Geoffrey Bawa (1919–2003) Geoffrey Bawa was Sri Lanka’s most prolific and influential architect. Bawa has continued this tradition. a mirror in which ordinary people can obtain a clearer image of their own evolving culture. After mud blocks are made they should be stacked so that air circulates around the blocksand so that they will not be disturbed or damaged preferably close to where the building will be constructed. Geoffrey Bawa recieved the prestigious Chairmans Award from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for his lifetime achievement. Geoffery Bawa in Architecture Throughout its long and colourful history. Although it might be thought that his buildings have had no direct impact on the lives of ordinary people. 27 . His architecture is a subtle blend of modernity and tradition. he has drawn on tradition to create an architecture that is fitting to its place. and it has always succeeded in translating these elements into something new but intrinsically Sri Lankan. providing a bridge between the past and future. Sri Lanka has been subjected to strong outside influences from its Indian neighbours. he has broken down the artificial segregation of inside and outside. Sri Lanka’s population has almost tripled. Bawa has exerted a defining influence on the emerging architecture of independent Sri Lanka and successive generations of younger architects. while its communities have been fractured by bitter political and ethnic disputes. a mirror in which ordinary people can obtain a clearer image of their own evolving culture. and he has also used his vast knowledge of the modern world to create an architecture that is of its time. Since Bawa started out on his career.
preferring it to be experienced instead. He blended them so beautifully that ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ became a continuum. Both life and training shaped his ideas. Bawa’s attitude to life imbued his work with a sybaritic ethos.Geoffrey Bawa shied from discussing his work. enhance and celebrate the environment’ and are above all. Nadhawade. A love of natural form. 28 . to be enjoyed. Fundamental to his approach was an empathy for place and a direct interaction on site. Quintessentially. which is ubiquitous in his designs. Sindhudurg (Dist). Maharashtra. India Shirish Beri & Associates on Farm house at Nadhawade said “The farm was bought with the idea of creating an ecologically balanced environment with maximum use and recycling of local materials. The existing potential of the natural landscape was always accommodated within and around Bawa’s spaces. his cosmopolitanism and a sense of culture and the past were essential components. Geoffrey Bawa’s architecture produced canvasses for the art of living so unobtrusive that his forms became props which ‘respect. the discipline he learnt in England tempered by conviviality in elegant surroundings. PROJECTS IN VERNACULAR 1) Farm house.
and the pump shed is camouflaged by a rockery. and integrate them in the built environment. which is more economical and indigenous. pool and services structure have been located centrally to facilitate better supervision. farm aid’s quarters. He has been involved with Aga Khan Award of Architecture. The farm aid quarters and stores were constructed in he vernacular manner with laterite pillars in the cement mortar and in situ mud partition walls. The sand was gathered from the streambed.The house has an organic quality with a unified interior space instead of segregated. when the pool is dry.The old existing temples with their Deepmalas have been retained with improved arrival spaces in front. 2)Influence of indigenous structures. These materials are natural materials. garden.) This material can be dressed to any size and shape. Konigsburger and Rory Fonseca were there to impart the best knowledge . While studying at Architectural Association in London in early 60s. British trained architect. thus no water is wasted. The main Osri or portico pillars are beautifully carved old wooden pillars of 55cm diameter. better insulation. The flooring is cow dung and mud on ground floor (except toilets and wet areas) and timber on mezzanine. These were abandoned by local temple in the process of the renovation when plastered stone pillars were 29 Kamil Khan Mumtaz a Pakistani.The built environment has a lot of interrelationship with the natural organic environment also. has good insulationvalue constructed. and brings about a great saving in cement The foundation is in Deccan trap stone obtained while digging the swimming pool. has also led several architectural juries. Some times the garden comes inside. The inside and outside spaces mingle with each other. Our own house.The gas plants design was based on a Chinese’s model. In tropical department at AA. Dr. shade and beauty. Kamil was no doubt. The wash out of the pipe is connected to the irrigation system of the coconuts and areca nut gardens at the lower level. The house was constructed in laterite stone masonry (a locally available porous stone of 26cm X 40cm X 16cm ht. mud and cow dung besides bringing about economy. The use of locally available laterite stones wood. lend an unusual warmth and earthiness to the spaces. a cascade and a lily pool.”Every requirement was worked out as activities and not as rooms. well. The swimming pool is constructed with minimum construction and costed only Rs. 2500/-. methane gas and wood from the energy plantations reduce the dependence of external energy resources. who has been working in Lahore. The well has been designed as a landscape element with stepped gardens.The wood used for the structural work is all locally available jungle wood. forms and culture on architects. The use of the solar cooker. or the house extends out in low-built forms. The well compacted cow dung plastered mud floor has good impact strength. which comes Rs. 40 / – per sq. The house was designed to grow around the trees. fully exposed to the modernist thinking of that era. It acts as a play arena.m only. He has made tremendous contributions to architectural education in Pakistan in his own modest manner. The bedroom sit out recognizes the natural irrigation canal. This building cost worked out 1/5th of the general prevailing building costs then. isolated rooms. Our attitudes towards life as a whole are mainly responsible for the shaping of this symbiotic living experience at Nadhawade. which runs along the property. which flows through the site from January to May. The wind on the farm was not enough for the exploitation. Pakistan since late 60s. which are cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
a much gentler. He is striving hard to regain the understanding of the past where religion. Kamil’s faith in Islam is influenced by Sufism. almost put him off course and he was forced to make some ‘mid-way corrections’ to his professional progress to return to a point where his work was ’seamlessly’ connected to the centuries of traditions. Kamil also worked with Keith Critchlow and Buckminister Fuller in Ghana for a while. culture and building forms and techniques were in harmony.about designing for comfort in tropical climates. tolerant and almost secular approach despised by the hardcore intolerant Islamic wing causing the current disquiet throughout the world. in his view. he was fully conversant with the sustainable approach to built forms rooted in local traditions. particularly his interest in indigenous approach. trying to keep alive or revive the building traditions that continue to suffer and deteriorate in Pakistan. Laurie Baker’s professional work adhered to his own brand of Quaker humanism. His professional training abroad. This is not an easy balance to strike if your clients have differing 30 . Kamil Khan Mumtaz was born and grew up on the sub-continent. vernacular and civic architecture from pre-Mogul to British era. Islam and its rich heritage offers him a framework to bridge the gap between alien western culture on one side and prevailing lack of continuity and cultural relevance in local architectural world on the other. Like Laurie Baker. It soon became apparent to him that that all his western training and appreciation of modernist principals were at odds with the local building and cultural traditions and to make meaningful architectural progress in these environments required a reappraisal of all he has learned. surrounded by some of the best examples of traditional craftsmanship. I have been aware of his high standards of architectural output for a while. On his return to Pakistan he started his practice with all the current design influences and produced some work using modern 20th century influences.
high rates of urbanisation. which are sufficient reasons for Kamil to politely decline such projects. and persistent poverty. when he very kindly accompanied me to show some of his building projects currently under construction. by exploring the validity of urban forms and morphologies which have evolved over the millennia in this particular geographic context. or as a cultural metaphor rather than as religious symbol. I had the pleasure of meeting Kamil in Lahore a few months ago. by creating relationships of spaces and buildings which are sensitive to prevailing . that the average architect may be persuaded to incorporate some token reference to traditional forms into his otherwise “modern” designs. He is sensitised to the role of “function” and of “pure aesthetics” of sensible form. and rhythms which reflect the cosmic order and perfect balance underlying the apparent chaos of the universe An architecture based on appropriate technology will fail to convey its message unless it also employs a language that is appropriate and meaningful in the context of a specific culture The sensibilities of the architect are moulded by his academic training. by designing buildings which are responsive to the climate of their region.expectations and ambitions. by developing an architectural vocabulary which is meaningful to the people and relevant to their culture and history. 31 …within these same environments the opportunities have also existed for architecture to act as a catalyst in promoting a meaningful debate which addresses issues which should be central to the discourse of architecture in these environments: Architecture can play this role by positing strategies for urban development in the context of high rates of population growth. I have been able to evoke the delights of discovering the hidden paradise with internal patios and fountains I have learned to work within the framework of a new discipline of symmetries. but not to that of religion as a factor in the design process. Thus it is only in deference to a valued client’s sensibilities. by imaginatively exploiting available material resources and skills and developing appropriate technologies. proportions.
one could then freely explore the internal layout of the houses to the needs and lifestyle of the occupant. social and economic diversity and often the lifestyle of the people are very different to be accommodated within the narrow range of different housing types of 2 bed/bath or 3 bed/2 bath…………. Like most of the projects done by the Architecture Dept. Auroville Building Centre the guiding principles are • • • • • • Solar passive design Participatory design process with the end user Flexibility of functions within spaces Low input construction techniques and materials Recycling of waste water Minimalism of built form 32 . Auroville is a society of extreme cultural. The concept of using transition spaces that are verandahs. 3) PRARTHNA Architect: Suhasini Ayer The housing of Prarthna started as a conventional housing development with an array of Apartment blocks comprising of different types of Housing units.social values and norms. This was enhanced by evolving a building language that was inspired from the vernacular forms of costal Tamil Nadu. sit outs and terraces as the living spaces with a cascade of shading roofs in terracotta tiles as the skyline. and by clarifying the issues in the current debate on modernity and tradition in these societies. But after the first 2 blocks it became clear that a mixed land use of row houses and apartments would be more appropriate for the needs of Auroville.We needed to explore a more site specific and climatically suitable principle of housing As this was then the unifying element in the housing. Taking this into account the neo-urbanism model of using streets and semi private green spaces was adapted into the site plan.
In the end. Each house was from a different locality with varied surroundings. Some had one courtyard.Each house had differences in the elements of the house. desires. administrative buildings and large institutional buildings.it looks at one of the many houses from the past that are being sold to ‘dismantling contractors’ so that . . kotlas.the land can become useable again for constructing a multi-storeyed residential buildings.Also lacking is a feeling for harmony and proportion But now as “the Earth Institute of Auroville” change the techniques in vernacular architecture. and living habits of a time because they are the direct result of the interaction between people and their environment. which were developed over many years and responded to the climate. Mostly today’s urban. More than the architecture of secular or religious institutions. who are concerned enough to conserve some of the past and to plan the future with a greater awarenass.necessarily derive from the past.It asks question about why vernacular houses in the city are being replaced with modern concrete constructions.It then looks at the new residential areas where the vernacular vocabulary is emerging in a fragmented way to make a ‘Style’. about how new architecture can evolve from this. The vernacular house is a small part-palaces. deorhis. Perhaps one day we will learn to maintain our commercial viability but at the same time respect the spirit and the qualities of traditional design. It will need many groups of people in many towns and cities.residential buildings activities do not repect the architecture values or practices of the past . what we know about the richness of this architecture with the others. mosques. tombs and from the present development-modern shopping complexes.the construction techniques and materials also varied subtly.. The balconies of the houses were also different. monuments. What does it mean to share one’s concern? It is to share. houses mirror the needs.some two and some none.to share our knowledge of the building materials and their advantages. VANISHING VERNACULAR VOCABULARY The changing face of the domestic architecture of India. used materials that were less disturbed our ecological balance. that new ways of building must 33 CONSULION The vernacular dwelling is the unconscious expression of a people’s cultue. commercial buildings. The unity of construction and landscape were lost.